Buying a new vehicle and dealing with salespeople: How important (and good) are you at gaining the upper hand?

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16308

    Apr 05, 2012 3:49 PM GMT
    So it is finally time for me to trade in my last Saturn, my black 2009 Saturn Astra for a new Hyundai Veloster. The Veloster's are in demand and not much flexibility on the purchase of.. or incentives, which drives me crazy.
    I had a HUGE rebate when I bought my Astra and had a 0.9% on the portion I financed (which put me off.. I wanted 0%, but the rebate was too much.)
    Hyundai also isn't Saturn or Ford (when I bought my 4x4's). I am always into making sure any monetary expenditure is a prudent one.. and that means NO BULLSHIT from the salespeople. It means gaining the upper hand in negotiation! In this case, it meant getting a good deal from an out of town dealership and "improving it" with the local. Love it and in cases it can literally make hundreds or thousands of dollars of difference.

    So are you good at negotiating? Does it matter to you?
    Must be something about law school... love to push the envelope and
    see what I can get. But any good negotiator knows he or she must have facts and figures, have a plan and know their limit. I'm about at my limit.
    I have a good deal.. now.. to finalize!

  • melloyello

    Posts: 149

    Apr 05, 2012 4:14 PM GMT
    Personally, buying 10+ cars over the years for myself, my shop and for family members. I usually prefer to deal with the commercial department. I figure out exactly what I want (from a 10 year old BMW to a set of 4 GMC Yukon Denalis) and fax or email in a request for the best price. I say I am shopping but serious to buy NOW and please respond via fax or email to give me the best price. Some dealerships won't respond to that method but it takes out the face to face dealing and the pressure. I then use that as a "baseline" to judge on what I am dealing with locally and go from there. Sometimes I can shave a few $$$ off when I go in to buy or usually I can get them to throw in some stuff for free.

    Incidentally, I got that old BMW for almost half what they were asking for it and I got a phenomenal deal on the Yukons, almost $1500 below invoice when they were selling for slightly above using these methods.
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    Apr 05, 2012 4:28 PM GMT
    Yes , it could be a hassle .
    Buying a car in Australia is a totally different experience than buying one in the U.S ..
    When i bought my first car in the U.S , i was so naive that i have must paid too much for it , i did remember gotten a 250 dollars discount because i had bought it in October and it was a previous model year ,and i was so proud of myself Hahaha ..
    I have learned since , and when i bought my 2nd one in 2005 , i got all prepared for the B.S sales people use ... I knew what i wanted to spend , i was paying cash , and when the salesman started to tell me he had to present his figures to the manager , i told him ," here is my phone # call me when you find out . The next day he called me , and i picked the new car up .
    In Australia , the price is listed on the car including expenses , and taxes , you just have to had the rego ,also no B.S from salesmen . When i bought my toyota ute , i was in and out in less than a hour , just a different way to do business ..
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    Apr 05, 2012 8:40 PM GMT
    Use the Internet. Don't visit the dealer until you have an "out the door" price locked in. Right down to the floor mats.

    First, visit the Hyundai manufacturer website and get a listing of all dealers you'd be willing to drive to. You can build out the car you want...colors, trim levels, etc. That way, you know know the exact car you want, in addition to some close second choices. Visit and find out the invoice vs. MSRP.

    Shop the largest city you are willing to travel to, and contact all the dealers in that metro region, via their website. More dealers within a short distance usually means they are more willing to deal. The "Internet Manager" will email you a quote. Try the 3 dealers closest to you too. You can contact 10 dealers in an evening. But don't give them your phone number!!! You will get bombarded with calls from their call centers. Once you get down to 1 or 2 dealers, then you can chat. But for the initial go around, email is fine. You can even negotiate back and forth with email if you prefer to do business that way. Dealers often quote their best prices, but will sometimes cut further to make a deal. One thing is the "dealer fee" which is just gravy money. These fees differ from $300 to $800. Some dealers insist on them and others can be talked out of them. So, you can say..."price fine, we have a deal IF you can scrub the dealer fee."

    Financing. Go to your local bank and credit union and arrange financing. The dealer F&I has a "buy rate", and can often beat those rates, but he won't do that until you tell him what you already have. At that point, you will have a choice. If you walk in blind, he will shoot for the stars...and up the rate. Dealers make money on the financing, and will sometimes give you a better price if they think you'll be financing with them. So, you have to be a little coy...make them think you'll finance with them, but don't make a commitment. Nail down the price of the car first. There are online finance calculators that show you where your payment should be, based on a certain selling price vs. interest rate.

    One more thing...check ebay, and Sometimes you can find a slightly used one somebody traded in. But you really have to know might have been in an accident, even if the carfax shows it is clean.

    Good luck!!! The Veloster is a very sharp car. Tell us all how you like it after you've had it a while.
  • chi_rock

    Posts: 207

    Apr 05, 2012 9:02 PM GMT
    I recommend knowing the price you want and being direct about it. Accumulate multiple quotes if possible. If you don't have multiple dealers in the area, email or phone. My last two cars were purchased over the phone (credit card down payment).
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:19 PM GMT
    What I do is contact a few dealers through the Internet and have them give me prices. I ten tell the other who is beating their deal and if they can match it or even better.

    After I have my price and what I think is fair, they deliver it to the house. That's how I bought my Audi A3

    So much better then haggling them at the dealer and driving around.
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:33 PM GMT
    I always go for the 'loss leader'. Get onto edmonds or kelley bluebook and find the invoice on the car you want. Now you know exactly what it cost the dealer. Then pick up the paper 1st thing in the morning and see what bait has been put out to draw folks in. You need to be willing to compromise on say the color or some bells and whistles. But loss leaders are usually sold for less then invoice, but you have to take exactly what is being offered. And they usually have just one at that price, so its best to call the dealership 1st to see if they sold it. And remember, they will try to bait and switch, but insist on the loss leader. Also, you should be able to get factory incentive financing on top of that, as it comes from the factory and not the dealership. Good luck and happy hunting.
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:47 PM GMT
    1. Say Hello.
    2. Say "I'd like this car at this price."
    3. If deal not accepted, repeat at next dealership.

  • rf_dal

    Posts: 380

    Apr 05, 2012 9:50 PM GMT
    Indeed being informed is the worse thing you can do to them icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:56 PM GMT
    I've seen people buy cars out of "love"/the heat of the moment; and regret it. But then there is my friend in Vegas, who has a Poker Face not even Lady GaGa could see past or break. He taught me a lot about self control, and knowing your vehicle choice before making your purchase; though I'm not going to use that anytime soon, sure is good to know.
    However, I'd like to reference Clark Howard, who always recommends people buy cars online; so is to avoid making emotional purchases and having to deal with looking at cars you wouldn't look at otherwise. Good luck, Chris!
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    Apr 05, 2012 10:03 PM GMT
    Do your research, consider something like CarMax. If working with a local dealer, call their Internet or fleet sales dept. Don't even walk into the dealer's without first having a contact in that dept. Stay away from the regular salesmen.
  • MisterT

    Posts: 1272

    Apr 05, 2012 10:14 PM GMT
    Find out what the dealer pays the factory for it, and allow a little for shipment to the lot.

    Never let them know how much you want/need the vehicle. Be prepared to walk away if they won't deal. Hyundai may not be a giant, but they are still good sized, and they offer incentive the dealers won't always share. It's well worth it to drive a couple hours to save a couple thousand.

    I like to make them work for the sale, make them think i have several options so they have to put in some effort. I hate when people go in and fall in love with a car and the dealer notices, because they know they have you at that point, they won't be very flexible with price.

    Knowing a vehicles weak points is helpful, consumer reports can be handy also. I typically do very well with getting price down a fair amount, might be partially due to my mechanical knowledge, I notice sounds and vibrations, signs of wear that may not be obvious to average car buyers.

    Good luck
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    Apr 05, 2012 10:28 PM GMT
    Use Consumer Reports car-buying service.

    As well they also have another service where you can submit the make/model/options of the car you want and they will send you the actual dealer invoice cost plus any applicable hidden dealer incentives. You then bargain up from the dealers price instead of bargaining down from the MSRP or adverrtised sale price.
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    Apr 05, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
    I has a blue 2008 Astra XR until this past December like you. I was looking at the Hyundai Veloster, because the Astra was getting up in mileage and I was starting to get huge maintenance bills...water pump needed to be replaced, as well as the timing belt was coming due...when I took it to the dealer for an estimated they noted $2,100.0 with labour to do the repairs, also in the same week my horn died..which was kind of hilarious since I never used the horn and then all of sudden you have all these idiots on the road. They noted that it would be an additional $250.00 with labour and parts. I also started to see a decline in GM maintaing parts for Saturns.

    So what I decided to do and I was not planning to buy a car on 12/30 was just to take a look at the Chevy dealer while my car was being serviced for an oil change.

    This is what I did -

    * Get pre-qualified with a Capital One Car Loan - I was able to do this in Dec. at 2.99% and got approval for 24K. At that time I was not sure if the Veloster was the right choice, plus I have family that works at GM and wanted to use the family and friends discount. My advise get pre-qualified first through Capital One.

    *Best time to buy when they have excess inventory either mid-year in June/July or End of the year when they are trying to close the books for the calendar year. Also, when they are throwing additional incentives. I am not saying you have to wait that long if you can not then it makes sense to buy the car when you have to.

    * Have a full meal before you go in, so that you are not hungry since it will take some time to finalize all the details and for them to prep the car.

    * Show some interest, but not overly emotional. I looked at the dealer lot and really like the Chevrolet Cruze LTZ (silver, black leather interior). They had a 2011 model fully loaded for $26K.

    * Do the test drive - I tested drove it and the salesman of course kept asking if I was ready to buy. I showed no emotion, repeated that I was just hear to test drive the vehicle while mine was being serviced. We then entered the sales area and I said out of curiosity what would be the numbers out the door today.

    * Art of negotiating - I then said that I had being already pre qualified with Capital One. Through the negotiating process they first offered 2.50% through TD Auto Finance. Then we touched on trading the Astra XR, at first they said $5,000 trade in view that had 75K miles. I then said well I am just curious of the numbers, I am not ready to buy today...He then said what will it take to get you to buy today....I then said well make me an offer that I can not walk away from...they came back jumped the trade in value of the Astra to $7,000...and then TD Auto Finance of 2.19% for 72months + there was a manufacturer rebate of $1,250.00 that I qualified, in addition to my family discount of $1,000 for the vehicle. I had saved some money so I put down 10K.

    * Walked Away - I then said that I need 24 hours to think about it...the salesman was trying for me not to leave the dealership. I said that I needed 24 hours to go over the numbers and they said they would guarantee everything.

    I then came back the next day and did approve the deal.... overall happy with the purchase and numbers since I got a car that I like at 2.19% for 72 months and my payments are $214.00 a month.

    Hope this helps, and most of all have fun with the process...I loved making the salesman sweat for a change.icon_biggrin.gif

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    Apr 05, 2012 11:25 PM GMT
    As others have said, do your homework first.

    Check Kelley Blue Book for your trade-in value. Then also shop your trade-in around to see what the average return will be. It wouldn't hurt to go right to CarMax also, if you have one around you, to get a quote.

    Check the invoice amount as another said.

    Know all of the options you want in the car and which ones you're willing to be flexible on or not, in order to make the deal.

    Know how much you want to spend, either in entirety on the car, or how much you want you want your monthly payments to be.

    BE PREPARED TO TELL THE DEALER: I WANT XX CAR, WITH XX OPTIONS, FOR XX PRICE/MONTHLY PAYMENT AND I WILL SIGN THE PAPERS TONIGHT. Sales people know that the risk f them losing your business increases 100 fold if they allow you to walk out the door without signing the contract.
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    Apr 05, 2012 11:37 PM GMT
    Also, negotiate price, not payments.
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    Apr 06, 2012 12:08 AM GMT
    I tend to buy or lease from the same guy at the same dealer time after time. And that's generally the sales manager or fleet manager. They respect the car related knowledge I have and I respect their job.

    I generally have the first of something new coming out and know I’ll pay a little more for it. Negotiations go real fast and easy. I actually let them make a little money. Pays in the long run. I’m treated exceptionally well and everyone is happy.
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    Apr 06, 2012 12:37 AM GMT
    A case in point was this last one that I originally leased then bought out the lease at the end of the 3 yrs.

    It was July 2008 and I lived in California at that time. I already sorta knew the sales manager. They had a few 2008s left but I wanted a new color that was going to be available for 2009. I wanted to get the car in Columbus so I wouldn’t have to take a rental car to the Ames Tri Power Nationals and then Dream Cruise the next week. I did that the year before at it was terrible not having anything to race. A few 2009s had just started shipping.

    The dealer was able to locate one in Akron and had it shipped down on my verbal authorization. I had signed nothing at that point and wasn’t even off the flight coming into CMH. I went from the airport directly to the dealer. I paid GM supplier, but that’s about all I got off except for a few through ins such as a trunk tray and stuff like that.

    I saw the car and was disappointed in the amount of orange peel in the paint ( I do this just about every time) and they knew that the car was going directly to the largest Pontiac meet in the country. So they had just enough time to do a complete thorough wet sand to take all of the texture out of the paint. All the cars you see at the really major auto shows have had this done. Its lots of work as I’ve done it many times myself. So I ended up with what would have been a $1,000 - $1,500 wet sand for nothing.

    Doing this makes just about any car look light-years better. It took them 2 ½ days to get it done. So I pick up the car, loaded up, and headed to Norwalk. The car was out on the drag strip with all of 125 miles on it. I far would have preferred this to another couple of hundred dollars off of the price. I treat them right and they take care of me with what was an extraordinary request.

    Mine looked and still looks better than other sport reds that you see because of this. The dealer knows that I can do this myself so they know how picky I am. Plus, I do it on a lot larger cars than anything we have today and anything they've done, and it makes the paint look spectacular.

    So I got my deal in a way that was far more valuable than a few hundred off of the price or a $10 per month lower lease payment.

    Works the best on dark pearls or metallics. The below took me three weekends, given that I had to take all of the trim off of the car.

  • daveindenver

    Posts: 306

    Apr 06, 2012 12:51 AM GMT
    YOu can skip all jigsaw dealer nonsense....most dealerships have an internet division. Know the car you want and what options and get it thru the internet department. I did....and ZERO HASSLE.
  • dcmacguy

    Posts: 102

    Apr 06, 2012 1:19 AM GMT
    Another helpful tool is Go there, build what you want, find out what they consider to be a great price, and go beat it.

    I ordered a 2012 Mercedes C250 back in November and picked it up at the beginning of March. I got 9.8% off of MSRP on it by doing the following:

    Emailed 6 dealers (but not the one I wanted to buy the car from), told them exactly what I wanted, that I was not flexible on options or color, that I was travelling at the moment and wanted to handle everything by email, and I wanted their best price. I sat back and waited - if a dealer called me, they were off my list. I had a few offers and then got the "what do you want to pay?" email. I lowballed the hell out of them, and they countered at $200 higher than my lowball.

    I went to the dealer I wanted to buy my car from with my smart that I was trading in, and I sat down to negotiate. I had them evaluate my trade up front, and they came back with an expected lowball offer. I got "pissed", told him he obviously didn't want my repeat business (same place where I bought the smart) and started to walk out. He did the whole "hang on a second lets see what we can do on the new car" bit. We sat down, and he told me the MSRP of what I wanted to order - and I told him I don't pay MSRP. He asked what I wanted to pay, and I lowballed him with a number $500 below my negotiated price with the other dealer. He came back and told me it was a lowball, and I asked him how it felt.

    He signed the bill of sale and slid it across the table. I wrote a deposit check and ordered my car.

    Point being - make it clear that the car is a *want* and not a *need*, even if it is a need. You're the customer, you drive the negotiations. If they don't want to deal, someone else will.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 06, 2012 2:02 AM GMT
    Veloster is a new model. If you can find a dealer that's selling at MSRP, you'll be very lucky. If you don't need to buy a car now, I would suggest waiting until the hype dies down. Then dealers will be more willing to negotiate.

    And I think that's the key to making any sort of big purchase.. don't be desperate. If you feel that you're not getting a good deal, it's much easier to walk away. And that's how it's been for me with the cars I've bought. I took my time and wore them down until I got the price that I wanted.

    Also, if the sales guy pulls out the old 4-square worksheet.. just take it and rip it. That thing is such a waste of time. icon_lol.gif
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 06, 2012 5:29 AM GMT
    Be prepared for the dealership to send one guy after another to try to talk you into a bad deal (for you) on a new car.

    Be prepared for them to repeatedly disappear into some inner office, pretending that they have to consult with their boss before they can make a deal with you on any and every aspect of the purchase. That's all part of their game. In reality, they have full authority to make a deal with you, themselves.

    Disregard the "sticker price" on the car windows.
    Disregard all enticements of floor mats, undercoating, cup holders, etc.

    The first question they will ask you will be about whether or not you have a car to trade in.
    Ignore that question.

    You can get a printout from Consumer Reports, telling you EXACTLY what the dealer paid for the car that you want.

    Then, offer no more than 2 or 3% above the invoice price (that you got from Consumer Reports).

    If they except your offer, THEN talk to them about trading in your old car (if you do want to trade it in). But, don't make the trade in part of the deal on your new car.

    If they won't accept your offer, give them your phone number, then extend your hand, and thank them for their time.
    Turn, and walk out.

    Your phone will be ringing in less than 30 minutes, with them trying to screw you over, on the deal.

    Stick to your guns.
    Make them meet your offer of 2 or 3% over the invoice price that you got from Consumer Reports.

  • rnch

    Posts: 11501

    Apr 06, 2012 10:29 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidSo it is finally time for me to trade in my last Saturn, my black 2009 Saturn Astra for a new Hyundai Veloster. The Veloster's are in demand and not much flexibility on the purchase of.. or incentives, which drives me crazy.
    I had a HUGE rebate when I bought my Astra and had a 0.9% on the portion I financed (which put me off.. I wanted 0%, but the rebate was too much.)
    Hyundai also isn't Saturn or Ford (when I bought my 4x4's). I am always into making sure any monetary expenditure is a prudent one.. and that means NO BULLSHIT from the salespeople...

    a year and a half ago I was torn between the newly restyled Hyundai sonota and the toyota camry.

    The arrogant, almost snide attitude of the local Hyundai's sales person and the "Finance Manager" gave me the large red protrousions on my glutes. The final blow was their "take it or leave it" trade in value on my Chrysler...HALF of the NADA trade in value number!

    "mah daddums didn't raise no dummah!"

    The local toyota dealer was just the opposite, gave me more than I expected on trade in, discounted the hale outta of the camry I purchased.

    Now that a few months have gone by, and sonota owners tell me about their various disappointments with their car, I am quite pleased with my camry purchase.